How to Use Distress Ink

Written by heather montgomery
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How to Use Distress Ink
Making a material look old and worn is easy with Distress Ink. (quilled ink writing on old paper image by Allyson Ricketts from

Distress Ink is water-based ink used in scrapbooking, photo tinting and other crafts. The ink comes in a variety of colours and can be applied to almost any craft material, including paper, wood and pictures. Distress Ink comes in an inking pad and a glass bottle with a dropper; you can purchase it at most craft or scrapbooking stores.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Distress ink in your colour choice
  • Craft material (wood, paper, photo)
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray bottle
  • Heat Gun
  • Iron
  • Foam eye shadow applicator

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  1. 1

    Sand the edges of a painted piece of furniture. You can also use a plain or torn piece of paper.

  2. 2

    Run the ink pad over the edge of your item. Use varying pressure to give a random and authentic look.

  3. 3

    Spray the ink lightly to make it run and feather. You can skip this step if you are happy with the look of just running it along the edges.

  4. 4

    Use a heat gun to dry your paper if you want it to lay flat. If the paper air dries, it will curl and bend.

  1. 1

    Crumple your paper into a ball. Smooth it out slightly with your hand and run the ink pad over the wrinkled area, giving your paper a veined look.

  2. 2

    Spray your paper until the ink starts to run.

  3. 3

    Dry the paper with a heat gun and then iron it with a household iron set on the lowest setting; or use a craft iron. Your paper will now be flat but with a wrinkled look.

  1. 1

    Dab a foam, eye shadow applicator into the Distress Ink colour of your choice.

  2. 2

    Tint the area of a black and white photo by lightly colouring with the applicator. The ink will blend without leaving noticeable lines.

  3. 3

    Use as many different colours as you like to turn a black and white photo into a vintage looking colour photo.

Tips and warnings

  • The ink can stain surfaces; use proper precautions.

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